Three Winners are Rethinking Mental Health

    • December 15, 2009

The winners of the Rethinking Mental Health: Improving Community Wellbeing competition are boldly transforming the field of mental health by: building bridges from traditional healers and community leaders in Bhutan to providers of modern psychiatry; creating student-run chapters of mental-health awareness groups on college campuses throughout the United States; and training clinicians to treat depression and epilepsy in post-conflict Liberia.

The three winners emerged from a field of more than 340 inspiring solutions submitted from 42 countries. The Changemakers community voted on the Web site for the three winners from a group of 12 finalists, selected for their vision, impact, and unique approach. The winners are:

1. Rebuilding Hope After War: Mental Health and Community Recovery, Liberia

2. Active Minds: Empowering Students and Changing the Conversation about Mental Health on 300 Campuses, United States

3. Promoting Mental Health Treatment in Traditional Bhutanese Society, Bhutan

Each winner will receive $5,000 and will be highlighted on, where innovators, investors, and supporters come together to help refine and scale up the impact of the next best ideas for social change.

In their sixth collaborative competition, Ashoka's Changemakers and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provided a platform to change our society's narrow perceptions and improve the rights and resources for individuals living with serious mental illnesses.

Many exciting trends emerged from the community, including innovative solutions addressing cultural traditions to dissolve stigma around mental illness and empowering young people, and those affected by mental illness, to help prevent, diagnose, and treat mental illness in their community, while advocating for better regional and national policies. The vast majority of entrants are experimenting with online technologies to broaden their reach and build support.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime.

About Ashoka’s Changemakers

Changemakers is an initiative of Ashoka, an organization with over three decades of finding, funding, and expanding the work of social entrepreneurs across the globe. It is a global online community of action that connects people to share ideas, inspire and mentor each other, and find and support the best ideas in social innovation. The Changemakers online community builds on this history and expands the Ashoka vision by creating an “Everyone a Changemaker” world through networking, relationship-building, and the sourcing of funding opportunities.

Through its collaborative competitions and open-source process, Changemakers has created one of the world’s most robust laboratories for launching, refining, and scaling ideas for solving the world’s most pressing social problems.